Qualcomm and Apple have officially started feuding, this time in a court

By: Ajaay Srinivasan, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi Last updated : March 05, 2019 2:25 pm

This is the first time a US jury gets a say on the two-year feud between these two companies. It will also determine if Apple really violated Qualcomm’s patents. If Qualcomm wins the battle, it’ll help the company undermine Apple’s claims that it charges way too much for their patents and royalties.

Qualcomm is facing off with Apple in court after it allegedly claimed that the Cupertino company infringed three of its patents that lead to the iPhone’s market success. While these two companies have been on each other’s throats for a while now, this is the first time a US jury gets a say in an eight-day trial kicks off at the Diego federal court.


It all started when Qualcomm who happens to be the largest chipset manufacturer for smartphones, accused Apple of infringing three of its patents that lead to the commercial success of their iPhones. The semiconductor company demanded they get paid $1.41 per iPhone that was eligible as per the intellectual property infringement and this meant, any iPhone sold between 2017 and 2018. 



While one of the patents allows users to connect to the internet immediately after the device boots up, the second patent revolves around the battery cycle and graphics processing on the iPhones. The third patent involves giving apps access to data by directing bandwidth directly from the modem to the app processor. Qualcomm was also of the opinion that Apple’s infringements also reduces the cost of their smartphone. 


If Qualcomm wins the battle, it’ll help the company undermine Apple’s claims that the semiconductor firm charges way too much for their patents and royalties. Also, when Qualcomm really gets an upper hand, it can be paid with an amount of $223 million for the iPhones sold since 2017 and now from its 91 million units Apple that has been sold just in the US. Qualcomm has also accused Apple of having encouraged actions against it around the world and of having lied to government officials. 


This month’s trial will determine if Apple really violate Qualcomm’s patents for the aforementioned smartphone technologies. When we said Apple had encouraged a coupe against Qualcomm, it also involved Apple and Intel joining hands with the Federal Trade Commission in the US as they accused the chip maker of functioning as a monopoly and stopping other players in the chip business to enter their market. Apple then levied its modem requirement from Intel as it broke up with Qualcomm.


CNET reported that Qualcomm’s lead attorney David Nelson referred to his client as responsible for “a lot of technology” found on smartphones of today. In his opening statement, Nelson said: “Qualcomm, although it doesn't make a smartphone -- it doesn't have a product that you and I would buy -- it develops a lot of technology in smartphones”.


As a reply, Apple says Qualcomm was the one who still there idea from their ex-employee when the idea was discussed in an email. Apple’s lead counsel, Juanita Brooks said “This one is truly the most outrageous allegation in the case. They took the idea from us and ran down to the patent office”.


It remains to be seen how the eight-day trial will pan out for Apple and Qualcomm. While the former remains unlikely to settle with Qualcomm, the latter has made it clear that it’s a dispute and they can’t reach a resolution. A verdict will be decided by a jury of eight on the case filed as Qualcomm Inc. v. Apple Inc., 17-cv-01375, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California and we can expect some answers sometime this month. 

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